Friday, May 14, 2010

Daring Cooks: Enchilada Sauce and Red Mole

Salsa.  Here the accent?  Makes me want to dance!  That is why I love Zumba so much, but I digress. This is about food not exercise after all.

Sauce is really the thing that always takes a dish go from plain to dressed up.  A stir in for a soup, a dressing for a salad or a sauce for your enchiladas.  The complexity, the flavor, the BANG in your mouth! 

I have made mole before but it was the quick recipe.  I have wanted to make a-spend-the-day-in-the-kitchen kind of mole for a long time.  Make no mistake, it is a day in the kitchen.  In the end, you are rewarded with one of the best tasting sauces you ever had.  And you have a bucket of it to boot.  So you freeze a couple jars and wow your friends when they came over.

A couple pieces of equipment are truly necessary for making mole.  One is a splatter screen.  This will save you a whole lot of clean up.  Two, a slotted spoon that can withstand the temperature of hot grease.  Stainless steel, not plastic.  Chenois for straining, medium not fine.  Besides the other normal things like pots and bowls these will be the things that are indispensible.

I used Rick Bayless recipe for red mole as he is kind of the ambassador of Mexican cuisine (besides Diana Kennedy of course).

Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on and written by Robb Walsh.

Please note that the Daring Cooks recipe was for enchilada sauce.  We were allowed to make a different sauce if we had made enchilada sauce before.  SInce I can enchilada sauce I decided to go with mole.  But I also made some green enchilada sauce which I have also never made adn wanted to do.  I love tomatillos so it was a welcome addition to my foodie repertoire.

Classic Red Mole
Mole Rojo Clasico

Makes a generous 3/4 gallon of mole

Recipe from Season 7 Mexico - One Plate at a Time

10 ounces (5 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 1/3 cup (about 6 1/2 ounces) sesame seeds
1 cup rich-tasting pork lard or vegetable oil, plus a little more if necessary
6 ounces (about 12 medium) dried mulato chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into large flat pieces
3 ounces (about 6 medium) dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into large flat pieces
3 ounces (about 10 medium) dried pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into large flat pieces
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup (about 4 ounces) unskinned almonds
1 cup (about 4 ounces) raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon, preferably freshly ground Mexican canela
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, preferably freshly ground
1/2 teaspoon anise, preferably freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon cloves, preferably freshly ground
2 slices firm white bread, darkly toasted and broken into several pieces
2 ounces (about 2/3 of a 3.3-ounce tablet) Mexican chocolate, roughly chopped
3 quarts chicken broth
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar

1.   Preliminaries.  On a rimmed baking sheet, roast the tomatillos 4 inches below a very hot broiler until splotchy black and thoroughly soft, about 5 minutes per side.  Scrape into a large bowl.  In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds, stirringly nearly constantly, until golden, about 5 minutes.  Scrape half of them in with the tomatillos.  Reserve the remainder for sprinkling on the chicken.

2.   Brown other mole ingredients.  Turn on an exhaust fan or open a kitchen door or window.  In a very large soup pot (I typically use a 12-quart stainless steel stock pot or a medium-large Mexican earthenware cazuela), heat the lard or oil over medium.  When quite hot, fry the chiles, three or four pieces at a time, flipping them nearly constantly with tongs until their interior side has changed to a lighter color, about 20 or 30 seconds total frying time.  Don’t toast them so darkly that they begin to smoke—that would make the mole bitter.  As they’re done, remove them to a large bowl, being careful to drain as much fat as possible back into the pot.  Cover the toasted chiles with hot tap water and let rehydrate 30 minutes, stirring frequently to insure even soaking.

Remove any stray chile seeds left in the fat.  With the pot still over medium heat, fry the garlic and almonds, stirring regularly, until browned (the garlic should be soft), about 5 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, remove to the tomatillo bowl, draining as much fat as possible back into the pot.

Add the raisins to the hot pot.  Stir for 20 or 30 seconds, until they’ve puffed and browned slightly.  Scoop them out, draining as much fat as possible back into the pot, and add to the tomatillos. Set the pan aside off the heat.

To the tomatillo mixture, add the cinnamon, black pepper, anise, cloves, bread and chocolate.  Add 2 cups water and stir to combine.

3.   Blend, strain, cook.  Into a large measuring cup, tip off the chiles’ soaking liquid. Taste the liquid:  if it’s not bitter, discard all abut 6 cups of the liquid. (if you’re short, add water to make up the shortfall).  If bitter, pour it out and measure 6 cups water.  Scoop half of the chiles into a blender jar, pour in half of the soaking liquid (or water) and blend to a smooth puree.  Press through a medium-mesh strainer into a large bowl; discard the bits of skin and seeds that don’t pass through the strainer.  Repeat with the remaining chiles.

Return the soup pot or cazuela to medium heat.  When quite hot, pour in the chile puree—it should sizzle sharply and, if the pan is sufficiently hot, the mixture should never stop boiling.  Stir every couple of minutes until the chile puree has darkened and reduced to the consistency of tomato paste, about a half hour. (I find it useful to cover the pot with an inexpensive spatter screen to catch any spattering chile.)

In two batches, blend the tomatillo mixture as smoothly as possible (you may need an extra 1/2 cup water to keep everything moving through the blades), then strain it in to the large bowl that contained the chiles. When the chile paste has reduced, add the tomatillo mixture to the pot and cook, stirring every few minutes until considerably darker and thicker, 15 to 20 minutes. (Again, a spatter screen saves a lot of cleanup.)

4.   Simmer.  Add the broth to the pot and briskly simmer the mixture over medium to medium-low heat for about 2 hours for all the flavors to come together and mellow. If the mole has thickened beyond the consistency of a cream soup, stir in a little water.  Taste and season with salt (usually about 4 teaspoons) and the sugar.

Lacquered Chicken
Rick Bayless

1/2 cup agave syrup (preferably organic raw) or dark corn syrup
24 portions of chicken—24 leg-and-thigh pieces, 24 bone-in chicken breast halves or a mixture of the two
Salt and fresh ground pepper
Reserved toasted sesame seeds from the Classic Red Mole recipe
Sprigs of watercress or flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small (2-quart) saucepan, mix together 1 cup of the mole with the agave nectar or corn syrup.  Simmer over medium heat until glossy and reduced to 1 cup, about a half hour.  On rimmed baking sheets, lay out the chicken in a single layer.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for 45 minutes (the chicken should be tender to the bone at this point—leg-and-thigh portions should register 165 degrees at the thickest part on an instant-read thermometer).

Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees.  Tip off the juices that have collected around the chicken, then brush the pieces liberally with the glossy mole mixture.  Sprinkle with the reserved sesame seeds.  Bake for 10 minutes to set the glaze.

Remove from the oven, let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes, then slide into a very low oven to keep warm until serving time—preferably no longer than 30 minutes.

Serve each portion of chicken with about 1/2 cup of warm mole, decorated with watercress or flat-leaf parsley.

Green Enchilada Sauce

1 pound tomatillos (roasted)
2 medium white onions coarsely chopped
1/4 cup canola oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 large roasted Anaheim chili, skin peeled as much as possible
3 cups chicken broth

Saute onions in oil and cook until soft. Add the garlic and the roasted tomatillos, pepper, chili powder, cumin and broth.  Cook until everything is tender. Cool a little and place in blender or processor to desired consistency.  You can freeze it at this point.  The flavor of the sauce will be much better the next day so if possible make this a day in advance.
I almost forgot to post this tortilla stack as that was a part of the challenge as well.  It really is a nice way of doing the tortillas.  I toasted my tortillas first before doing my stack.  I think the toasting helped bring out their "corny" flavor. This particular stack was made with my homemade, canned enchilada sauce.


kat said...

Those look so tasty & its hard to go wrong with a Rick Bayless recipe in my book.

Mary said...

Lori, this mole looks wonderful. It is really hard to beat anything that Rick Bayless makes. Your photos are wonderful. I hope yo are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

grace said...

sooo many ingredients and so much time, but this must truly be worth the effort. long live rick bayless. :)

elra said...

Lori my dear, your red mole look and sound absolutely delicious ... I am bookmarking it. Hope to be able to make soon.

The Blonde Duck said...

I love enchiladas!

vanillasugar said...

ack lori i haven't made mole yet? i know i know. and it has chocolate in it so you would think i had. seriously though, this is one great post.

Olive said...

red mole sounds delicious, I've never had it before, it's on my list of must-try now. Great job on the challenge!

LittleRed said...

Your Red Mole looks delicious....I would love to try it....but I have a feeling some of those dried peppers would be hard to find here....I'll have to start watching for them. Wonderful Challenge!

chef_d said...

looks so good, yummy!

Lisa Michelle said...

Lori..I ,ade Rick's classic red mole also AND used some of it for the lacquered chicken last night. Yes, like you said, it IS a chore of a sauce, but so worth it - and the Yours looks amazing and your photos are stunning! Unfortunately, I shot my mole straight out of the Sometimes I just don't think!

Barbara Bakes said...

After reading your post I want to take a Zumba class. Your mole is such a rich, dark color. Everything looks so delicious. Great job on this challenge. You can cook Mexican for me any day! Thanks for cooking with us!

Audax said...

yes that Zumba ad is too memorable LOL LOL. You did the red mole recipe yes it is a lot of work but so worth it I did the black mole but didn't post it at the end I was waiting for a better time and party to use it. Your stack looks so delicious and I bet was yummy. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Anonymous said...

It seems several of us made the red mole. I like to think we all went that route because it is so damn good.

Anonymous said...

Bayless is great. I was just looking for a enchiladas verde recipe. Filing this one away! The mole looks killer, too.